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There are options to foreclosure

If you're unable to afford your mortgage payments on your home and considering foreclosure, you should know that there are other options that may be viable and preferable.

Let's look at a few of those.

Deed in lieu of foreclosure

With this option, the borrower and lender reach a settlement agreement that the home must have a sale price of at least its fair market value. The ownership of the home is then transferred to the lender, who pays off the remainder of the loan.

This option relieves borrowers of their remaining loan obligation. It also has less of an impact on their credit rating than a foreclosure would.

Short sale

This is when a homeowner sells the home for less than the amount still due on the mortgage. All lenders with whom you have mortgages must agree to a short sale, and will generally require proof of a borrower's financial hardship.

A short sale will allow homeowners to get out from under a mortgage. They will generally be able to purchase another property within two years, as opposed to the amount of time they must wait after a foreclosure, which can be up to seven years.

Deed for lease

This is a fairly new option, introduced in 2009. It's also referred to as "mortgage to lease." It allows borrowers to remain in their home and rent it for up to three years. Qualification for this option is determined by the lender.

Any of these options can be less costly and less damaging to your credit score than a foreclosure. They also are more complicated if you have second or third mortgages on your home, since that involves multiple lenders. That's why it's worthwhile to discuss your options with your lender(s).

An attorney who is experienced in helping people facing foreclosure and other debt issues can also provide important guidance and assistance.

Source: Zillow, "Short Sale vs. Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure" accessed Nov. 09, 2017

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